Category: unions

Two Michigan for-profit charter schools being held accountable for breaking the law

Two Michigan for-profit charter schools being held accountable for breaking the law

Hallelujah

It’s no secret that the for-profit charter school industry is like the Wild West when it comes to being able to do just about anything they want. Michigan is one of the most permissive states in the country when it comes to oversight of charter schools and there are miscreants out there taking full advantage of that in order to maximize the flow of tax dollars directed into their bank accounts.

This week, however, a couple of them are finally being held accountable, a rare but important step.

First, there’s Detroit Community Schools, an Orwellian-named run by former criminals that was called out in a scathing floor speech by Democratic State Rep.

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What is a Good Job?

What is a Good Job?

The following guest post was written by Rebecca Thompson. Thompson is a native Detroiter and the Executive Director of Good Jobs Now, a partner of the Center for Popular Democracy. The organization fights for economic and social justice for low wage workers and Detroiters. She lives on Detroit’s east side.

Enjoy.

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law that gave us the minimum wage and a host of other protections to protect workers from the most cutthroat tendencies of capitalism.

While the law is still on the books, its power is fading. The federal minimum wage today – unchanged since 2009 – doesn’t let workers afford the most basic essentials, from a mortgage to monthly groceries.…

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INTERVIEW – AFT President Randi Weingarten: “This is the DFT that I remember…the mighty, mighty DFT

INTERVIEW – AFT President Randi Weingarten: “This is the DFT that I remember…the mighty, mighty DFT

Over the past few months, teachers in the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) have had to resort to “sick outs” to get attention to the egregious working and teaching conditions they and their students are being forced to contend with. From black mold, rats, and cockroaches to warped gym floors and, this past week, the threat that they would not be paid for their work because the district is out of money, none of these issues would have been made public without them taking these measures. By law, teachers in Michigan are not allowed to go on strike so sick outs have been their only recourse.…

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Union Proud, Union Strong: Good news for a change!

Union Proud, Union Strong: Good news for a change!

I received a press release the other day from the Michigan State AFL-CIO, the umbrella federation for U.S. and Michigan unions. The group is made up of 56 unions representing 12.5 million working men and women. The headline made me smile and sent a glimmer of sunshine in what has been some very dark days for people of conscience and passion in Michigan.

The headline read simply: New Data: Michigan Union Membership Increased in 2015: Michigan unions added 36,000 members last year

Happily, Michigan is not alone in its increase in membership. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 states saw an increase in union membership, and although there is a great deal of room for growth, after too many years of union membership decreased, mostly because of a horrid economy and bad Republican economic policy, wages in union states, as have been reported for many decades now, are increasing for union households and furthermore in non-union households they are making about 21% less than Union households.…

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The future of public sector unions, and perhaps organized labor, lies firmly in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court

The future of public sector unions, and perhaps organized labor, lies firmly in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court

2015 was by many accounts a good year for our Liberal agenda as it related to decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court. The affirmation of the Affordable Care Act and the victory of marriage equality for all were important and historical steps in reality and it was, I should add, a reflection of what many of us, no matter your political will, agreed were the right decisions to make. But, as many of us are fully aware, just because a majority agrees with a point of view does not guarantee a victory in the courts.

Today the United State Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments on a landmark case that originated in Detroit which could overturn a decision that has been upheld for 39 years.…

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Debunking the Mackinac Center’s phony teachers union “pension spiking” scandal

Debunking the Mackinac Center’s phony teachers union “pension spiking” scandal

I recently wrote about Michigan teacher Mary Davenport, a woman who had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from her union, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), only to turn around and claim they “weren’t there when she needed them.” She was duped into being the poster child for the campaign by the corporate front group Mackinac Center to encourage teachers to leave their union.

In the letter Davenport signed that was sent to thousands of Michigan teachers using their taxpayer-funded work email addresses, Davenport railed against what Mackinac Center calls “pension spiking” by MEA president Steve Cook whose pension will be based on his MEA salary.…

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Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been traveling in China for work for the past two weeks. I’m now back in Michigan and have finally recovered from my jet lag and the 12-hour time difference. I appreciate your patience during my absence. Regular posting will now resume : )

Back in 2011, shortly after Republicans took control of our state government, one of the first things they did was to enact a series of laws designed to diminish the ability of teachers to bargain collectively for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. The new laws created local boards that would govern teacher discipline, teacher evaluations, teacher tenure and strengthened a prohibition on strikes to further harm unions that encourage them.…

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Unions are about freedom or: This is why the conservatives have been trying to kill America’s labor movement

Unions are about freedom or: This is why the conservatives have been trying to kill America’s labor movement

“The future of labor is the future of America,” labor leader John Lewis said, during the Great Depression.

And for a long time, you had to squint to see that future because it’s so bright. America capitalized on its enormous advantages after World War II with unprecedented growth that was — thanks to the labor movement — widely shared.

However, workers wages peaked in the 1970s and since then, gains have been widely shared by the richest .01 percent.

Some have argued that this is a mystic inevitability that is in no way connected to corporate America focusing its enormous power and wealth on an agenda of cutting taxes for the rich and deregulating industry.…

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This one chart shows why collective bargaining is so crucial for ALL Americans

This one chart shows why collective bargaining is so crucial for ALL Americans

Do you ever feel like you never seem to be able to get ahead? That you work your whole life but, at the end of the month, the end of the year, you aren’t any further ahead than you were last month or last year?

This one chart goes a long way toward explaining exactly why that is:

As the chart shows, since the attacks on unions began back in the 50s and 60s and union membership began to drop, the share of income enjoyed by the middle 60 percent of families began to drop as well. In fact, the two correlate frighteningly well.…

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President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

Last December, the National Labor Relations Board issued a new rule to “modernize and streamline the process” of forming a union.

The new rule:

  • Provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;
  • Ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;
  • Eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;
  • Adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;
  • Requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting other parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and
  • Allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single appeals process.
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Wisconsin poised to become next Right to Work state, uses “Freedom to Work” meme beta tested in Michigan

Wisconsin poised to become next Right to Work state, uses “Freedom to Work” meme beta tested in Michigan

With their state Senate debating so-called “Right to Work” legislation this week and their Assembly expected to take it up next week, Wisconsin is poised to become the latest Republican-controlled state to enact the anti-union law. In the weeks and months leading up to Michigan’s passage of right to work legislation, anti-union forces rebranded it as “Freedom to Work”. The term “Freedom to Work” is even used on our state government website.

As it turns out, as in so many other ways, Michigan was the testing ground for new corporatist and conservative efforts. The group Wisconsin Right to Work now has FreedomToWorkWI.com as the URL of its website.…

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